By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
It was Tuesday, April 28 at about 1 in the afternoon and Stuart Gruskin stepped out of his midtown Manhattan office to grab a bite to eat. As he was crossing 43rd Street between 5th and 6th, a catering service deliveryman on a bicycle came flying along 43rd - going against traffic on the one-way street.
Gruskin stepped off the curb and into the path of the wrong way rider. The injuries to his head were just too severe. Gruskin, 50, senor vice president of a company that evaluated companies that are prospects for mergers, the father of 12-year-old twins, died.
Nancy Gruskin, his wife of 16 years has now taken up the cause of bicycle safety in New York City. She says that, while it's rare that people die from bicycle-pedestrian crashes - it's not rare, she says, that people get hit.
"If you would talk to 10 people, those 10 people know 10 more who were hit or almost hit," she says.
"Just three weeks ago the rabbi of our temple watched someone get hit by someone going the wrong way."
Tomorrow at 10 am, Nancy Gruskin will testify before New York's City Council to urge stronger legislation to crack down on bicyclists who defy traffic laws in the Big Apple.
"The bill in its current form is very light," she says.
Perhaps worse, she says, research indicates that the law as it stands now is rarely enforced. She wants Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to signal that enforcing bicycle safety laws is a priority. Not only for the well being of pedestrians, but for the benefit of bicyclists as well. Because riding a bike like a daredevil on the streets of New York is dangerous to them too.
"I'm not anti-bike," Gruskin says. "I'm pro-responsibility,"
Gruskin, who has filed a wrongful death suit against the company the deliveryman worked for, says she is starting a foundation in her husband's name to push for public awareness of the problem and to raise funds for those injured by bicyclists who have no medical insurance.